Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rava Dosa...soodu soodu (hot hot) rava dosa!

During weekdays, all we get to eat is cold breakfast. So, at least during weekends I try and make something hot, something Indian. When I was in college in Hyderabad, we used to go to a place called Chutneys (Banjara Hills). There we used to get the BEST rava dosa's and best chutneys ever! If you ever happen to visit Hyderabad, I would sure suggest this place for breakfast. I have served this with coconut chutney.
There are many ways to make this dosa and the below is my favorite. Watch out for more rava dosa variations in my forth coming posts.Pardon the pic, its looking dull.

Maida:  1/4 cup
Riceflour: 1 cup
Rava (sooji): 1/2cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp or according to taste.

Seasoning Ingredients (or tadka):
Mustard seeds: ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Pepper: 1/4 tsp (optional)
Curry leaves: 1 string
Coriander leaves: Little bi, chopped coarsely
Onion:: 1 small, chopped finely
Green chili: 1 medium chopped (optional)
Ginger: 1 inch, finely chopped
Oil: 5 tbsp

  • Mix all the fours and salt and add 2 cups of water. Mix and see if it needs more water. The batter should be very watery.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When they dance around add the cumin seeds and pepper.
  • Now add ginger and curry leaves followed by green chili and onion. 
  • Fry until the onion in translucent and add coriander leaves. 
  • Stir for a few seconds and transfer this mixture into the batter and mix well.
  • Heat a wide bottom roti/dosa pan. Take a ladle full of batter and pour on the sizzling hot pan. 
  • The batter spreads by itself because of its watery consistency. 
  • Add a few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa. When you see the dosa browning, gently turn it over or transfer directly into a plate.
  • Serve this hot so that it is crisp, just the way it is supposed to be.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Minced Chicken (Kheema) with veggies

After I finished my 12th standard, my sister and I started living in a working woman's hostel while I was perusing my graduation and my sister her post graduation. Like most other hostels, never was a day when tasty food is served. So when ever we used to visit my parents, my mom used to pack kheema with roti/pooris. They used to stay good for at least 24 hours and we used to devour them after reaching the hostel. This is the recipe picked up from her from those times. The below measurements would serve 4.

Chicken/mutton kheema: 1 lb (or 1/2 kg)
Frozen veggies: 1 cup (mine had beans, carrot, peas and corn)
Potato: 1 large, pealed and chopped
Onion: 1 medium chopped
Ginger & garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Salt: According to taste
Oil: 4 tsp
Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch piece
Cloves: 4
Coriander leaves: handful, coarsely chopped

  • Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and add cinnamon stick and cloves. Then add the onions.
  • While the  onions are frying, heat 2 tsp of oil in another pan and fry the chopped potatoes.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, add the frozen veggies and fry some more. Make sure that there is no water left in the veggies. switch off the stove and keep these fried veggies aside.
  • Once the onion's are fried properly, add salt and red chili powder. Stir and add the ginger garlic paste. 
  • Once the ginger garlic paste is cooked, add the chicken/mutton kheem. Fry until it is completely cooked. Stir once in a while. 
  • Once the kheema is cooked, add the garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder. Stir and check if all the spices are according to your liking. 
  • Now add the fried veggies along with coriander leaves, stir once and switch off the stove.
I have served this with plain rice and sambar for dinner and for the next days lunch, I used the left overs to make some pita-wrap with kheema, some hummus, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce. It made a great lunch with some simple salad.

Below is a small 2 tier Diaper cake I made for a good friend of mine for her Baby Shower. The theme was green and I had a bit of trouble location diapers with green design.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Beans Poriyal

I love beans. This is one such veggie which can easily grow in the back yard. I got this recipe from Sarah's Vazhayila. There are many ways to make this Poriyal (Thoran like Sarah calls it). Her beans looks FAR better than mine, do take a look at her blog :) I usually chop veggies during weekends and usually chop beans this size (1 inch). Her recipe calls the beans to be chopped in small rounds. But otherwise I followed her recipe to the T. You can get the recipe from Vazhayila or you can get it here. I am posting this here for my future reference. The looks don't match the wonderful taste it had.
Long Beans: 1 lb
Grated coconut: 4 tbsp
Shallots: 4 or 1 small onion

Garlic: 2 cloves
Green chili chopped: 2
Dried red chili: 1
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 string
Salt: 1 tsp or according to taste
Oil: 1 tbsp

  • Chop the beans in circles.
  • Grind the onions, green chili and garlic. To this add the coconut and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they dance around, add the red chili, curry leaves followed by beans and salt. 
  • Fry the beans until they are cooked. This should take about 5-10 mins on medium flame.
  • Add the ground onions mixture and stir for another couple of minutes. 
  • Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fruit Salad

Ever had an evening when all you had is fruit for dessert and you have to make the best use of it? Well, I keep having the days like that all time, considering both hubby and I decided that we are getting old (ha ha, not quite) and that we have to eat healthy. Below is not exactly a recipe but just to give you an idea of a different way to present boring fruits.
Just scoop the water melon with a melon-ball tool or a regular steel round measuring spoon. It would be better if your melon is seedless. Arrange a martini (or any) glass and drop the scooped melons in it. Throw in a few raspberries and garnish with fresh Parsley. You could also drop a few tbsp of watermelon juice in the glass. Serve chilled. 

1. You could replace watermelon with cantaloupe and raspberries with strawberries.
2. You could put a scoop of ice cream on top.
3. You could drizzle chocolate on top.
4. You could pour in Baileys.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Simple Chicken Pot Pie (Veggie version too)

This is yet again another easy, yet tasteful and nutritious recipes. There are many ways to make this pie but I prefer the below way because its easier to make it this way. I know. My bad, but what can I possibly do when I am pressed for time?
Anyway, the below measurements would yield 1 pie which 2 adults can comfortably share. I am going to give the chicken and the veggie version too. Look at the bottom of recipe for vegetable version. I served this for dinner.
Cream of chicken : 1/2 can (or 5 oz, I used campbells)
Chicken broth: 3/8 cup ( 1/2+1/8 cup)
Pie shell: 1 shell and 1 crust to seal the pie (I used Pillsbury)
Frozen veggeis: 3/4 cup (thawed)
Chicken: 1 big breast (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
All purpose Flour (APF): 1 1/2 tbsp
Aluminum pie liner: 1

  •  Preheat the oven to 400 D F.
  • Clean the chicken cubes and boil in hot water until cooked. Should take under 10 mins.Drain after cooking.
  • Mix the APF with chicken broth. Then mix in the cream of chicken, veggies and cooked chicken chunks. The mixture would be somewhat thick.
  • In a 9 inch pan or any oven safe dish, line in the aluminum pie liner. Place the pie shell in the liner and fill it with the mixture.
  • Seal the shell with the top crust and make small vent-holes with a sharp knife for the steam to escape. 
  • Bake for 35 minutes and check if the crust is golden brown. If not, bake for another 5 mins. 
Below is the picture I had taken near my front porch. The snow is melting and skies are blue. I just love looking at the icicles. Hope you liked it too.
Vegetarian version:
Replace the cream of chicken with cream of vegetable and chicken broth with vegetable broth. Use additional veggies of 3/4 cup in place of chicken. The rest of the recipe and method is same.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Simple Rice pulao

Some weeks never seem to end. Lately I am often stuck at work and come home only after 6:30 PM. This means I hardly have any energy left to cook an elaborate meal, even though cooking relaxes me. My sweet husband doesn't complain at all when all he gets is simple pulao with raita and pickle for dinner and next days lunch.
This is one such recipe which I make when I am either falling short of veggeis or time. Either way, this pulao needs hardly 20 mins for 2 cups of rice.

Frozen veggies: 1 cup (mine had peas, corn, carrot and beans).
Basmati Rice: 2 cups
Ghee or dalda: 1 tbsp
Green Chili: 2 or 3, slit
Onion: 1 small, chopped
Salt: according to taste
For flavor
Starani/Flower: 1
Bay leaf (biryani patta): 1
Cloves: 2
Cinnamon: 1 inch piece
Fennel seeds (sounf): 1 tsp

  • Wash the rice and keep aside
  • Heat ghee in a pot and add everything under, 'for flavor'. 
  • Fry for a few seconds and add the green chili and onions. 
  • Once the onions are soft, add the mixed veggies and fry for couple of minutes. 
  • Now add rice and salt. Fry for a minute and add 3 and half cups of water. 
  • Cover the pot but make sure to stir it once in a while.
  • Once the rice is cooked, serve with raita or any gravy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pepper Rasam

For generations we have been making Rasam this simple way. Actually its very easy and hardly takes any time. For every Tamil household, its pretty much a must as a final course. Since my dad hates tamarind, my mom often used to skip this but in my grandmom's place or my K Aunty's place, Rasam is like water; there is no way a day goes by without having Rasam. Even though she was very busy all the time caring for her inlaws, a very demanding son and a super demanding career, she never skipped making Rasam, not even a single day. She used to take a small stone pestle and while coarsely mashing the spices, she used to heat up the pan for making Rasam. In like 5 mins, Rasam is done!!
Rasam aids in digestion. So, if you want you can even drink this steaming hot in a cup. Below Ingredients would serve 2.
Tamarind pulp: 1 tbsp
Water: 3 cups
Tomato: 1 ripe, medium, mashed with hand
Garlic cloves: 3, mashed
Coriander leaves: handful, coarsely chopped
Cumin/jeera powder: 2 tsp (if possible, freshly grounded)
Pepper powder: 1 tsp (if possible, freshly grounded)
Turmeric: just a pinch
Salt: 1 tsp or as needed per your taste

Mix the above all in a bowl one by one and keep aside. At this stage, you can also check if the salt is sufficient and also check if the sourness from tamarind pulp is sufficient.

Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Jeera/cumin: 1 tsp
Asafitida/hing: a small pinch
Curry eaves: 1 string
Red chilies: 1 broken into 2 pieces

Heat oil in a pot and add mustard seeds and when they start to dance around add cumin seeds, red chili and hing followed by curry leaves. Now add the water mixture you have prepared in the above step.
Reduce the flame to medium and keep an eye on Rasam. Switch off the stove when you see the foam forming in Rasam, about to boil in a minute (Like shown in the picture). The best tasting Rasams are never allowed to boil. Remove the pot from the stove and cover it for about 10. Serve hot with rice, mango pickle and papad...emmmm bliss!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brinjal Curry with Jack-fruit Seeds

I don't remember when was the last time I had a fresh jack fruit. This is my moms favorite fruit but my dad used to HATE the smell of this fruit and used to urge us not to keep the fruit in the fridge because everything else would smell like jack fruit then! Good old days...
Dried mangoes are available here, I wish at least dried jack fruit was available.
When I had seen the jack-fruit seeds in one of the Asian stores, I quickly grabbed them. At that time I had no idea what I was going to make with it.

Jack fruit seeds: 10
Bringal: 2 big ones, chopped
Tomatoes: 2 large chopped into small pieces
Onion: 1 large chopped
Green Chili: 1, slit
Coriander leaves: hand ful
Ginger & garlic paste: 1 tsp
Salt: according to taste
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp

For Tadka:
Oil: 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Chana dal: 1 tsp
Curry Leaves: 1 string

  •  Remove the outer layer of the jack fruit seed and boil in hot water for 10 minutes. 
  • Chop the seed into 4 parts and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin, chana dal and curry leaves.
  • Fry for few seconds and add the chopped onions and green chili. 
  • When the onions are fried, add turmeric powder, salt and chili powder. Fry for a few seconds and add the ginger & garlic paste and fry for a minute taking care not to burn. 
  • Now add the chopped bringal and tomatoes and a little water. 
  • When the bringal is half cooked, add the boiled jack fruit seeds. 
  • Cook until brinjal is completely cooked, switch off the stove and garnish with coriander leaves.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Baked Baby Potato Snack

Today is my nephews Birthday; he is turning 6! How time flies by. It only feels like yesterday that I have seen him as a tiny little thing.

Anyway, I don't even remember why I bought so many potatoes last week; that too those tiny little baby ones. I had to make use of them somehow and so I made the below snack. It was surprisingly good. I am book marking this recipe to make when my parents are here in summer. I think my dad will like it with beer as much as my husband did when I made them.
Baby Potatoes: 12, cut in to half's
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Cheese: I used cheddar and mozzarella mix 
Rosemary/any herb you like: a little (optional)
Sea salt: 1 tsp
Pepper (optional): as needed

Preheat the oven to 350 D F. Wash, dry and cut the potatoes into halves. Rub olive oil and sprinkle some cheese on top followed by a little of your favorite herb. I used 1 Rosemary leaf on each half.
Bake these in the pre-heated 350 D F oven for 30 minutes.

After you remove from the oven, you can sprinkle salt and pepper if you wish or enjoy the baked potatoes as is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fish/Meen Kuzhambu (Chettinad Style)

I got this recipe from Solai's True Chettinad Kitchen. I must say, I am really thankful that I found her website, for, Chettinad recipes is my hubby's favorite. Anyway, it came out really good and we enjoyed it immensely. Her recipe advised us to use the head or tail of the fish but I could find neither, so, I used salmon fillets. You can visit her website (link attached above) or get the recipe from here, I followed her recipe to the T.
My mom use to make fish kuzhambu and we used to have it with sambar and fish fry.
I am also sending this entry to Akila's Dish name starting with F event.

Fish: 12 medium pieces (boneless so that its easier to eat)
Onion: 1 medium, chopped
Tomato: 1 chopped
Garlic Flakes: 7 large or 15 small
Chili powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 2 tbsp
Curry leaves: 1 string
Fennel seeds: 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
Tamarind paste: 2 tbsp soaked in 3 cups of water

For marinade:
Chilly powder-1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder-1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice-1 teaspoon
Salt-1 teaspoon
Marinade the fish pieces with the above 4 ingredients and leave it it fridge for 2 hours.

  • Heat oil in a pan and add fennel and fenugreek seeds followed by curry leaves, garlic and onion.
  • Fry them for 2 minutes and add tomato pieces and fry for 2 more mins and add tamarind water.
  • Now add coriander powder and a little salt and get the gravy to boil and reduce the flame. After 10-12 minutes the gravy will reduce to half. (you can also add more chili powder at this stage for extra spicy curry).
  • Gently add the fish pieces and increase the flame and cook for 5 mins or until the pieces are properly cooked. 
  • Check for salt and switch off the stove. Server after a couple of hours so that the juices are fully soaked into the fish pieces.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Banana Blossom fry (Vazhaipoo poriyal)

I never had this poriyal before. Who would have thought we can even put this to use? My husband once made vada (patties, deep fried in oil) with banana blossom but that's pretty much it. When I had seen the blossom at store, I picked it up not knowing what would I make out of it. After making this poriyal, I realized that it would take some getting-used-to to acquire the taste for vazhaipoo poriyal. My husband loved it though...
Banana Blossom: 1
Onion: 1 medium, chopped into small pieces
Green Chili: 1 chopped
Curry leaves: 1 string
Cinnamon: 1 inch piece
Clove: 2
Garlic flakes: 2, mashed
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder: 1 tsp
Salt: according to taste
Garam masala (optional): 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut: 3 tbsp
Butter milk: 2 cups
Oil: 3 tbsp

  • The first step is cleaning the banana blossom and chopping it. While some people recommend that we can clean the florets and chop it, the recipe I was given (by a friend) suggested that I discard the mature florets (little fruit they are). Start pealing off the banana blossom leaf one by one, including the little banana fruit (!) until you get to the below stage where the leaves are tender and white.  See below.
  • Grease your palms with oil and chop the banana blossom in to small pieces. 
  • Immediately place the chopped blossom into butter milk to avoid the blackening of the blossom. 
  • Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to dance around add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, curry leaves, garlic pods, green chili and onion. 
  • When the onion is fried properly, add salt, turmeric and red chili powder.
  • Now, remove the banana blossom from the butter milk and wash thoroughly in water. 
  • After washing it, add to the fried onion and sprinkle handful of water. 
  • Fry until the blossom cooks; it shouldn't take long, maybe up to 15 mins max.
  • Switch off the stove and add garam masala and grated fresh coconut.